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Spend $54 billion more on defense? Cut the $125 billion in waste first

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

Foreign policy hawks led the #NeverTrump movement. They led the opposition to Donald Trump’s rise to the Republican nomination. Many writers from our brother publication, the Weekly Standard, led the charge on this front. Trump ran as a noninterventionist who didn’t want us to be the world’s policeman.

Yet, somehow, President Trump’s first budget is a neocon dream.

He wants to grow the defense budget by 10 percent in the next year, spiking the Pentagon budget by $54 billion. Why? Who knows — our only guess is that he will push it as a jobs program and as a way of projecting America’s strength.

Before we take on those merits, there’s an elephant in the room Trump must address.

Instead of increasing spending, why not fund the increases through cuts to waste? Now, reducing waste in Washington is always seen as impossible, and many claim that massive waste doesn’t exist.

Well, that simply isn’t the case for the Pentagon. The Defense Department’s own study shows they waste $125 billion in administration aloneThe report identified a clear way to cut the waste, yet neither Obama nor Trump to this point have decided to target the waste.

Beyond this waste, it’s time to do a full audit of the Pentagon. The Pentagon has more than one million people working desk jobs for business operations. Just 1.3 million Americans serve in active duty.

Are every one of those desk jobs vital to America’s safety? Are they spending our money wisely? Every federal department should be held to this scrutiny.

Before we spend $54 billion more, cut the $125 billion already identified.

Now to the merits of spending $54 billion more, even if the waste is also cut. The fundamental question is: what do we need $54 billion more for? Are we fighting a new war? Are we going to rebuild the Navy (and for what reason)?

While a modest increase might be reasonable to stop the decrease of active duty troops, $54 billion is a lot of money. $54 billion in roads and infrastructure spending could build 50 new bridges or repair many others.

Trump ran on rebuilding America, not wasting money overseas. His budget needs to keep this promise.

 


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